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Stephen McPherson out as entertainment president of ABC after six years



Stephen-mcpherson-o LOS ANGELES -- When Stephen McPherson took over as president of entertainment at ABC in 2004, he had the good fortune to come on board just as the network was about to air a few promising shows called Desperate Housewives and Lost, and later, Grey's Anatomy.

Six years later, he's finding out how that feels on the other side, announcing his resignation from the company just after leading the network to develop its successful Wednesday night comedy block and one of this year's most Emmy-nominated shows, Modern Family.

"I want to thank the wonderful team of individuals who have worked with me throughout my time here and wish them nothing but the best,”  said McPherson's quote in a terse statement on the resignation released by ABC last night.

The network says a replacement for Mr. McPherson will be announced shortly. Presumably, that announcement might come Sunday, when ABC faces reporters gathered here for TV Critics Association's summer press tour.

McPherson was always a blunt presence at the tour, willing to say what was on his mind with a directness rarely seen in top network executives. But that style also led to rumors his abrasive style was alienating fellows executives and the town.

ABC has seen its ratings fortunes dim this year, thanks to sagging performances from established shows such as Housewives and floundering attempts to develop new dramas such as the confusing and ultimately cancelled Flash Forward.

But ABC has some of the most promising fall pilots on board. Will be interesting to see how the network's suits try to spin this transition in a few days. Stay tuned.

[Last modified: Thursday, August 12, 2010 2:16pm]


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